The Linzer torte is one of the oldest tortes in the world, found in an Austrian abbey in the early 1700s. (A torte is defined as a cake made with many eggs and often grated nuts.) Immigrants brought the famous cake to the US from Linz, Austria, around the 1850s. From there, Linzer cookies arose, smaller sandwich style versions with a lighter dough. But the Linzer torte is still a popular holiday treat in neighboring Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Switzerland.
My recipe may not date back to the nineteenth century, but I still have a recipe card that shows I wrote it in 1974. Tried and true it is!
The name on the recipe card reads Ischl (pronounced “eesh uhl”) Tartlets which I discovered are the same as linzer cookies, however the name comes from the Austrian spa town of Bad Ischl.
These luscious treats, made from a cream cheese dough and filled with raspberry jam, may be my favorite cookies. But I only make them once a year because they take a lot of work. Still, the taste is worth the effort.
Follow the recipe in two stages. Prepare the nutty-flavored dough and let it chill for about 4 hours, or better yet, overnight. Later, roll out the dough and cut out the shapes with cookie cutters. Keep count of how many bottom and top cookies you have, or you’ll lack matching pairs. I use the Wilton Linzer Cookie Set with interchangeable cut-outs available from Amazon.
Linzer cookies don’t take long to bake, but let them sit on the cookie sheet for 2 extra minutes before transferring to the cooling rack. If you want to make especially beautiful cookies, sprinkle powdered sugar on the top cookies before you place each on the jam-filled bottom layer. I did not do this this year, so I must remind myself of that hint next year.
Be careful if you stack the cookies for storage – you don’t want them to lose the pretty jam-filled cut-out designs.
LINZER COOKIE RECIPE
Recipe from the Debi Lander Collection
- 2 ¾ Cups sifted all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup butter
- 1 3 oz. package cream cheese
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ Cup almonds, ground
- ! Tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 12 oz. jar raspberry preserves
- !0x Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
- 1.Sift flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside
- 2. Beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, and egg in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
- 3. Add flour mixture and blend. Stir in ground almonds and lemon rind.
- 4. Shape into two balls, cover, and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
- 5. Roll out half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into circles and circles with cut-out designs or holes. Place on ungreased cookie sheets or parchment paper.
- 6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes more. Transfer and cool thoroughly on a rack.
- 7. Heat preserves. Spread solid cookies to the edge. Top cut-out cookies with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and place on top of the jam layer.
- 8. Store between wax paper in an airtight tin.